I don’t think we can necessarily say something like "yoga is all the rage these days" anymore, but it is safe to say that yoga has become a fairly steady, mainstream workout activity for many people.
We have resources all around us and make no mistake about it, there are plenty covering the wide variety of yoga disciplines. And as you would have guessed, the next progression is to venture into applications. There are many applications that are available on multiple platforms that either walk you through a yoga workout or help to teach you yoga. I searched for one in this category and decided to give All-in Yoga a try.
I’ve had a bit of an interest in learning more about yoga for quite a few years. I’ve tried a couple books and wandered the Web for information, but I’ve come to realize it’s not an easy thing to actually learn on your own without little guidance. Many people turn to classes for this, but my situation hasn’t always made that option a possibility. Being the Mac nerd that I am my next logical place to look is the App Store.
In general, the activity of yoga carries with it an aura of peacefulness, reflection and relaxation. So an application that looks like iTunes would probably not have the right tone from the start.
Luckily, All-in Yoga is about as far from iTunes as one could get. Its purple gradients on top of a wood texture feel just about right for trying to create a yoga environment on your Mac (as impossible as that may actually be). On top of these, the smooth background music that accompanies workouts along with the subtle voice helping you through your workouts add to the overall experience.
Cards set on top of the wood textured background denote different workouts and recessed areas and gradients help to separate the interface and differentiate what’s clickable and what isn’t. In short the use of these tools works really well to allow you to dive right into the application. The learning curve is pretty darn low.
As I mentioned, I don’t think it’s particularly easy to create the yoga atmosphere in this situation, but I’ll say that All-in Yoga comes about as close as I think you could get with a computer application. Let’s take a look at how it actually works.
The interface does very much remind me of an iPad application. Large buttons and clickable areas make navigating around the application completely obvious.
In many portions of the application the display is divided into sections with one-third allowing for some navigation or additional information and the remaining two-thirds showing the content.
All-in Yoga really is a breeze to navigate. There are no groundbreaking or new techniques being used, which is probably a good thing for most people. I should also mention that you can take the app to full-screen mode when you’re doing a workout if you’re operating on OS X Lion.
Many people would prefer not to have to do a whole lot of preparation for a yoga workout and like be led through a prepared routine. Quick recipes are perfect for these users.
There are 25 ready made "recipes" separated into four categories: beginner, intermediated, advanced and guru. The workouts range from 23 minutes to 99 minutes depending on the type and difficulty level.
For the average person using this application, I’m guessing this is the place where you’d spend most of your time. It essentially requires no thought as the workouts are already built for you. Building a proper yoga routine from scratch isn’t necessarily a simple, straightforward task so this is a nice feature.
Checking out the details of each workout is done be simply clicking on the one you’d like to try. On the left side of the display you’ll see the details of the workout and the list of the included poses. Clicking on a pose will present you with more information about that specific pose on the right side of the display.
You’ll see the actual name of the pose and then the easy name along with a description of how the pose is done. You’ll also see a photo of someone doing the pose and an image of the muscle groups it is hitting. Both of those can be enlarged. You’ll also see a video that shows someone actually doing the pose. You’re provided with a lot of information about the workout and each pose included. It’s pretty simple to learn how to perform the poses correctly and I guess it’s even possible to learn their traditional names if you’re so inclined.
Personal Yoga Teacher
"Teacher" is maybe not exactly the correct term for this portion of the application. What it does essentially is pick a workout for you. You see a form where you enter your age and weight along with your expertise level and what you’re looking to get out of it (i.e. balance, leg strength, stretching, etc.). You press the "find a program button" and off it goes.
You’ll be presented with one program that meets the criteria. There are possibly more that would fit, but this essentially takes all the decision making process away from you. So it really goes one step further than the quick recipes in that you just enter in the information and then a workout that fits what you’re looking for is provided. Zero shopping.
This is arguably not the greatest title for this section either, but once you see how it works, it’s pretty self explanatory.
Here you’re presented with the database of available poses. You pick and choose the ones you’d like to include in a workout. You’re starting from scratch to craft a custom yoga workout.
There are may be more experienced folks out there that would enjoy this functionality, but it’s not a feature for everyone (definitely not me). There is a flow to a good yoga workout and some decent knowledge of poses is needed to successfully pull that off. But I will say it is a pretty great feature as it allows for total control in the creation of any workout you like. These custom workouts can of course be saved for continued use later.
The pose base is just that. It’s the database of all the poses available to you in All-in Yoga. This is the area where you’d go if you want to learn about and browse specific poses.
It really does overlap every other section in some way, but I guess it’s nice to be able to jump right into the pose database if you need to.
Once you’ve gone through and found the yoga program you’d like to do, clicking on the routine will bring you to a start screen of sorts. You’ll see some items that you can customize before starting along with the time, name of the pose and an accompanying photo.
You are also able to view additional information about the pose as well as the video on it. You can toggle the sound and change the soundtrack in mid-routine if you wish.
It is also possible to click through a pose should you want to move on faster than the given program as prescribed. All of this can be distracting when you’re trying to go through a yoga session so thankfully, if you’re able to get by on the photos and or names of the poses you can essentially just hit start and follow along. It’s a pretty good experience and about as good as I would expect coming from a computer application.
From a beginner’s perspective, it is nice to be able to check out a quick video if you can’t remember how to do a pose right in the middle of the program.
Yoga has been something I’ve been intrigued by for some time, but for one reason or another, I’ve just never spent the time to learn. All-in Yoga isn’t necessarily the magic bullet for this scenario. It isn’t going to make you a yoga master. But it will provide you with a pretty solid base from which to build. I think it’s probably near impossible to learn as much as you would from an in person teacher but this application has to come pretty close.
All-in Yoga costs $4.99 in the App Store. I think this is a fair price given the amount of information it includes. If you’re looking for a home yoga companion, this application will certainly be capable of keeping you company for a long time. There are a lot of ready made routines to choose from and if you get bored of those you can always make up your own. There is also a free version that doesn’t include nearly as many programs and poses as this, but it will at least give you a sense of how the application works. In short, if you’re looking for a yoga workout pal then All-in Yoga is a solid choice.